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raagamuffin

B&H Photo under scrutiny

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I buy a bunch of gear every year from B&H. I was a little disappointed with this charge that B&H doesn't treat some employees fairly. 

This may not affect most people, but if you shop there, just something to be cognizant of, if this sort of thing is important to you. 

http://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/20160225-2

Or more concisely,

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/b-h-discriminated-hispanic-workers-suit-article-1.2544262

http://hyperallergic.com/278663/department-of-labor-sues-bh-photo-over-discriminatory-practices/

Edited by raagamuffin

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Quite troublesome indeed. I've made many purchases with B&H over the years, this is troublesome. These are Federal charges no less, quite serious.

I'll stick with Adorama and Amazon from now on.

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Quite troublesome indeed. I've made many purchases with B&H over the years, this is troublesome. These are Federal charges no less, quite serious.

I'll stick with Adorama and Amazon from now on.

I don't know about Adorama but Amazon UK/EU is not only under attack for paying no tax through various avoidance schemes but is also constantly in the news over the poor treatment and low pay of its workers. Same applies to Google and Uber, the latter company found to be paying less in taxes than 4 individual licensed London taxi drivers (black cabs).

Ethics usually fly out the window when there is money to made or saved by the consumer just as much as with businesses. The same people who campaign against the fur trade will have money invested in companies that damage the environment and the animals that live in it, They will buy their milk cheaper from the big supermarkets while signing petitions calling for the same supermarkets to pay their tied dairy farmers a fair price for the milk.

Edit; How about Johnson and Johnson, Pepsi Cola, Colgate-Palmolive. All burning down rain Forest.

Edited by veejaycee

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morpheme   

I suppose it's all the more reason to shop local…. I will allow B&H their due process, but what just came out was pretty damning if there's any truth to it all, so my last order may well be my last order. 

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CDavis7M   

This is not really "new" news, but just more of the same story. If you do a quick Google search for "B&H discrimination" you will see several law suits going back years, mostly for discrimination against Hispanics. And, if you haven't noticed how B&H closes early on Friday and is closed on Saturday, it's because the store is run/operated by Hasidic Jews who close the store for religious observances. And I don't live in New York, but Hasidic Jews are a very common sight there. They even have their own community in New York that is, in reality, run by religious laws (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borough_Park,_Brooklyn). New Yorker's love to tell crazy urban myths and legends about this community.

I can't believe that this type of discrimination is occurring in 2016, especially in New York, but I think it is interesting to know some of the history behind the incident because it gives you a better understanding of why this sort of thing happens. But hopefully these continued lawsuits will at least change how they operate even if it doesn't change the beliefs of their owners/operators.

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CDavis7M, their beliefs are interesting, and one can sympathize with them, and even setting the separate bathroom issues aside,  I don't see how people with merit cannot getting promotions because they are of a certain ethnicity. If someone does great work, give that man/woman a hand so they can make a more comfortable life for their family. 

Veejaycee, your post is well received, but this is much more black and white than the examples you give. I mean, it is about a direct relationship between an employer and employees. Incidentally, to extend what you say, none of us should be buying cameras and other electronic equipment because the mining of rare earth elements for use in them is a very dirty process severely polluting the groundwater near the Chinese mines. 

 

 

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CDavis7M, their beliefs are interesting, and one can sympathize with them, and even setting the separate bathroom issues aside,  I don't see how people with merit cannot getting promotions because they are of a certain ethnicity. If someone does great work, give that man/woman a hand so they can make a more comfortable life for their family. 

Veejaycee, your post is well received, but this is much more black and white than the examples you give. I mean, it is about a direct relationship between an employer and employees. Incidentally, to extend what you say, none of us should be buying cameras and other electronic equipment because the mining of rare earth elements for use in them is a very dirty process severely polluting the groundwater near the Chinese mines. 

 

 

I think you miss my point which is about the relationship between the consumer and the company where we may decide not to buy from B&H because of their treatment of the staff but by going elsewhere for our purchases we are just a likely to be supporting another company whose behaviour below the surface smile may be just as heinous in other ways.

I have absolutely no respect for B&H or any company that behaves in the way they are and I hope they are punished to full weight the law allows. I cannot understand how the owners of B&H whose ethnic race/religion has suffered similar treatment and worse in history can behave this way themselves in the country which originally gave them shelter and the opportunities in life they now deny to others.

It is also poor business to deny advancement to some while promoting others on the basis of their race/colour/religion rather than promoting those whose knowledge, skill and experience would add to their profits.

However, the odd person saying they will remove their custom may well be "cutting off their own nose to spite their face" unless there is a combined action by a large number of customers - which would make B&H sit up and take notice. If a large enough number sent emails or (if BH have a social media presence), ask them on Twitter, FB etc about their treatment of staff (without accusation since the case/s are under investigation), that too might help.

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Veejaycee,

 I now see your point of view earlier and concur with it. I think we can start with a few of us here taking the stand to reconsider B&H for our use, and one can hope a number of others will follow suit. 

 

 

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ranger   

VJC, just out of curiosity how do you feel about the attempt (or is it a done deal?) on the part of UK legislators to make it illegal to boycott Isreali goods? From the US it looks like a completely unjustifiable suppression of a basic freedom.

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henryp   

We appreciate your concern and your loyalty, and want to take this time to help you understand what has been happening recently. At B&H we value each and every customer; your concern is our concern. We know you have choices when shopping and your choice of our establishment is something we do not and must not  take lightly.  We want to continue earning your business and instilling pride in your choice for photo and electronics.

B&H is a family owned business, a success that has been built for over 40 years from a small storefront in New York City to the worldwide enterprise we are today.  This is credit to our dedicated and devoted employees, many of whom have been with our company for decades.

Every one of our employees is treated with respect and dignity, no matter of race, religion or gender.  The average employee tenure at B&H far exceeds most of our competitors and as well as most employers of any kind.  Our employees are well compensated, offered generous benefits, and they are given 17 paid days off in addition to 3 weeks paid vacation. Few companies offer this.

The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility.  For the time being, we will address several of the accusations, as they are far from factual. We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true.  Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.

There are always areas where we can better ourselves, and these are issues that B&H is committed to strengthening as we move forward.  Our goal is to create an even friendlier environment for our employees, where there can be no doubt that their needs, concerns, and well being are noticeably our primary focus.  Our roots are from a place where discrimination affected so many of the very people who are now part of the B&H family, and we built this company and brand to defy what were the norms around us, and to give everyone the chance to succeed, to care for their families and homes, and to be happy. That will not change, but will only be improved upon.

What you may not be told in these scurrilous narratives is that B&H chose to keep its jobs in New York, rather than opting, as many others do, to outsource jobs to areas overseas where labor rates are lower.  Our call centers and online management teams are right here. We chose a very different route, and we continue to make daily decisions taking into account first and foremost our dedicated employees and customers and we will continue to do so.

Over the next few weeks and months, you will hear more and see the growth, and we will make sure our customer and our employee are kept keenly aware of the situation.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your concerns and we hope we can continue to earn your business in the future.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

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VJC, just out of curiosity how do you feel about the attempt (or is it a done deal?) on the part of UK legislators to make it illegal to boycott Isreali goods? From the US it looks like a completely unjustifiable suppression of a basic freedom.

Hi ranger

I only just saw this post. I checked around to find what the current position is since the UK usually only boycotts under the banner of the UN. Here is an article from the Independent dated about 3 weeks prior to your post. The law making the boycotting of Israeli goods illegal only applies to govt and local govt bodies not to individuals.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israel-boycott-local-councils-public-bodies-and-student-unions-to-be-banned-from-shunning-israeli-a6874006.html

FWIW the UK tries to stay neutral (if that is possible between Israel and Palestine. We generally seem to side with Israel yet we also give civilian aid to Palestine.

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MadDog   

Quite troublesome indeed. I've made many purchases with B&H over the years, this is troublesome. These are Federal charges no less, quite serious.

I'll stick with Adorama and Amazon from now on.

I agree.   However, Amazon has their own set of discriminatory practices that may eventually lead to a lawsuit from the EEOC.   You see Amazon categorically refuses to hire anyone with a criminal record.  Felons stand no chance of being employed by Amazon.  Even 20 year old convictions are roadblocks to employment.  I realize the court of public opinion feels that convicted felons should be banished for life to a desert isle, but I think that discrimination is discrimination - this is a civil right issue.   After a person has successfully completed their sentence, shouldn't we as a functioning and progressive society allow them full access to well paying jobs so they can provide for their families?   Unfortunately discrimination of all types is alive and well today.  

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I agree.   However, Amazon has their own set of discriminatory practices that may eventually lead to a lawsuit from the EEOC.   You see Amazon categorically refuses to hire anyone with a criminal record.  Felons stand no chance of being employed by Amazon.  Even 20 year old convictions are roadblocks to employment.  I realize the court of public opinion feels that convicted felons should be banished for life to a desert isle, but I think that discrimination is discrimination - this is a civil right issue.   After a person has successfully completed their sentence, shouldn't we as a functioning and progressive society allow them full access to well paying jobs so they can provide for their families?   Unfortunately discrimination of all types is alive and well today.  

What the USA does is no business of mine but similar attitudes and use of politically correct liberalspeak such as "functioning and progressive society" has cost the UK and EU dearly as you will have seen on the news services so ask yourself this - just where do you draw the line as to the type of criminal that should or should not be treated this way. Pedophiles working in your child's nursery perhaps? Rapists and murderers in a girls school? There is no answer you can give to this without nullifying your own argument. - If you draw a line anywhere then you are guilty of discrimination and damned by your own words. Yet if you don't draw a line anywhere then your country (& the world) is doomed - think about it and also think about the very high number of re-offenders and whether you or your neighbours would feel happy knowing your goods might go missing or be interfered with if Amazon changed their stance. You ,might get your money back and simply suffer inconvenience but someone has to pay and I'm sure Amazon would pass the cost on to its customers.

I'm no apologist for Amazon - in fact they, along with Google, Starbucks and several other big American companies pay no corporation tax in the UK from their operations here but pressure from the public is now being brought to bear - I doubt very much we will get near as much as we are owed. Amazon are also known for paying very low wages and for using mostly zero hours contracts - all this, yet we still buy from them.

Edited by veejaycee
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We appreciate your concern and your loyalty, and want to take this time to help you understand what has been happening recently. At B&H we value each and every customer; your concern is our concern. We know you have choices when shopping and your choice of our establishment is something we do not and must not  take lightly.  We want to continue earning your business and instilling pride in your choice for photo and electronics.

B&H is a family owned business, a success that has been built for over 40 years from a small storefront in New York City to the worldwide enterprise we are today.  This is credit to our dedicated and devoted employees, many of whom have been with our company for decades.

Every one of our employees is treated with respect and dignity, no matter of race, religion or gender.  The average employee tenure at B&H far exceeds most of our competitors and as well as most employers of any kind.  Our employees are well compensated, offered generous benefits, and they are given 17 paid days off in addition to 3 weeks paid vacation. Few companies offer this.

The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility.  For the time being, we will address several of the accusations, as they are far from factual. We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true.  Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.

There are always areas where we can better ourselves, and these are issues that B&H is committed to strengthening as we move forward.  Our goal is to create an even friendlier environment for our employees, where there can be no doubt that their needs, concerns, and well being are noticeably our primary focus.  Our roots are from a place where discrimination affected so many of the very people who are now part of the B&H family, and we built this company and brand to defy what were the norms around us, and to give everyone the chance to succeed, to care for their families and homes, and to be happy. That will not change, but will only be improved upon.

What you may not be told in these scurrilous narratives is that B&H chose to keep its jobs in New York, rather than opting, as many others do, to outsource jobs to areas overseas where labor rates are lower.  Our call centers and online management teams are right here. We chose a very different route, and we continue to make daily decisions taking into account first and foremost our dedicated employees and customers and we will continue to do so.

Over the next few weeks and months, you will hear more and see the growth, and we will make sure our customer and our employee are kept keenly aware of the situation.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your concerns and we hope we can continue to earn your business in the future.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

I think it is to the credit of B&H that they respond to these charges openly on this small forum.

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We appreciate your concern and your loyalty, and want to take this time to help you understand what has been happening recently. At B&H we value each and every customer; your concern is our concern. We know you have choices when shopping and your choice of our establishment is something we do not and must not  take lightly.  We want to continue earning your business and instilling pride in your choice for photo and electronics.

B&H is a family owned business, a success that has been built for over 40 years from a small storefront in New York City to the worldwide enterprise we are today.  This is credit to our dedicated and devoted employees, many of whom have been with our company for decades.

Every one of our employees is treated with respect and dignity, no matter of race, religion or gender.  The average employee tenure at B&H far exceeds most of our competitors and as well as most employers of any kind.  Our employees are well compensated, offered generous benefits, and they are given 17 paid days off in addition to 3 weeks paid vacation. Few companies offer this.

The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility.  For the time being, we will address several of the accusations, as they are far from factual. We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true.  Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.

There are always areas where we can better ourselves, and these are issues that B&H is committed to strengthening as we move forward.  Our goal is to create an even friendlier environment for our employees, where there can be no doubt that their needs, concerns, and well being are noticeably our primary focus.  Our roots are from a place where discrimination affected so many of the very people who are now part of the B&H family, and we built this company and brand to defy what were the norms around us, and to give everyone the chance to succeed, to care for their families and homes, and to be happy. That will not change, but will only be improved upon.

What you may not be told in these scurrilous narratives is that B&H chose to keep its jobs in New York, rather than opting, as many others do, to outsource jobs to areas overseas where labor rates are lower.  Our call centers and online management teams are right here. We chose a very different route, and we continue to make daily decisions taking into account first and foremost our dedicated employees and customers and we will continue to do so.

Over the next few weeks and months, you will hear more and see the growth, and we will make sure our customer and our employee are kept keenly aware of the situation.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your concerns and we hope we can continue to earn your business in the future.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Henry, 

Your reply is much appreciated. Personally, I will reserve judgement on this matter until these charges are settled and the resolutions made public. 

 

Edited by raagamuffin
added qualifiers
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Birk   

Having worked for large companies on both sides of the fence I know how discrimination claims can be blown out of proportion When someone is told by a lawyer of how much money can be made from a lawsuit things get out of hand. Not in all cases, but it does happen. Another factor in this case with B&H is the media.If you read about the candidates running for political office much of what is said is distorted or some facts just avoided. I don't trust the media anymore because of this. They want headlines to sell newspapers.

   I'm mentioning these points to show there is much to consider when you here about things like this. I will admit B&H has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years. It was the little things they did when I would call and needed equipment right away they made sure it got to me ASAP. Their customer service for me was the best. Yes, I'm a little partial but it's because they were great to my company and to me for all these years. What is happening now at B&H is just a part of doing business and being  a public company. This could be all true what they say,or as is the case sometimes, it comes down to one or two people having a disagreement with more people fanning the flames. We will soon see.  Remember, we can always agree to disagree. That is what has made America great. Stepping off my soapbox now.

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kiwiana   

Quite agree with @Birk. There are alot of cases where these stories are blown way up out of proportion. Newpaper companies want to sell newpapers and radio /TV want to improve their ratings. You hear and see the headlines,but when you get into the nitty gritty there may only be a little truth in it or none at all!

 

As regards B&H  I have great admiration for this company. Living in New Zealand we are a long from anywhere in the world, probaly a good thing..If I want any information I use their chat service in which the people are always very knowledgable and helpful.

I have bought quite a bit off them,cameras and lenses plus odds and ends and will  continue to do so.

They are a great company from my point of view.

You see we live in a very PC world and there are people out there who would jump on the bandwagon when they see an oppotunity. I call those so called people  "Do Gooders" They find wrong in a lot of things which many of us wouldn't probaly think about. Just PC gone absolutley MAD!

Time will tell I guess?

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Hmmn. We're all sat her, at our desktops (or laptops). with our smartphones, and our Fuji cameras.

I'd bet all of those items contain at least one component made at Foxconn, or worse, farmed out to smaller factors.

That's the firm that has such a bad reputation for mistreating staff, Apple is leaning on them, but they still have to erect "suicide netting" around the roofs of their worker's "dormitories".

Those of us who live a high tech life, can't really single out one business, and accuse it of bad practice, whilst turning a blind eye to a tribune of unpleasantness that goes into maintaining our lifestyles :-)

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